We’ve already passed Memorial Day and it’s quite awhile until Labor Day, so you know what that means, it’s time for your summer white wines. Here are three examples from the general Sonoma County area that I have recently tried: two made from grapes out of the Knights Valley area and one from vineyards near the Russian River.
I go back and forth on how much information to provide in reviews. Many of you may just be looking for suggestions on what to buy, while others may feel detailed descriptions are necessary for you to take the plunge.
In the spirit of relaxing summer evenings, no copious tasting notes, just the basics. I’m going to tell you the following:
1-Would I buy it again (or if it was served to me, would I buy it myself)/why?
2-Would I take it to a function where I don’t think there will be discerning wine drinkers?
3-Would I give it as a gift or regift it/why?
Here we go…
VINTJS 2012 Knights Valley Sauvignon Blanc
1-I would not buy this wine. This SB was simple and not very interesting. It was dominated by citrus and just tasted cheap. It is from Trader Joes and runs about $7.99. Honestly, I am not a price tag snob–if a wine is tasty-in my opinion, of course- balanced and shows value for the dollar, I will like it. I drink a lot of under $10 bottles of Bogle Petite Sirah during the course of a year.
2-Nope, wouldn’t take it to an event with non-savvy wine drinkers. It doesn’t have the sweetness level and mouthfeel of wines that appeal to newbie oenophiles. I want people to start liking wine!
Matanzas Creek 2011 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
1-Yes, yes, I’d buy this wine. I tried it a friend’s house recently and it really caught my eye. It was fruity and herbaceous and interesting; traits I adore in a wine. It is also made from grapes grown in Knights Valley. The influence of oak softens the wine and makes it pretty supple in the mouth for a SB. Very refreshing. You can find it online, at the winery and perhaps at your local specialty wine shop. It runs about $19, but is easily 2.5 times better than the SB listed above. That is the kind of thing I mean when I talk about value.
2-I would set this out at a gathering of inexperienced wine drinkers. It is a great example of how fun a Sauvignon Blanc can be.
3-Definitely on the gift list. I’d take it to a friend’s for dinner this summer.
1-I’m not a big Chardonnay drinker, but this was quite tasty, and I’d definitely pick it up myself. It is made in a style similar to the white burgandies of France: crisp, cool climate grapes, seeing a bit of French oak, as well as neutral oak, some batonnage (stirring of the yeast), and a slight bit of malolactic fermentation (that’s a winemaking process that converts tart malic acid into smooth lactic acid, often resulting in a wine that tastes a bit buttery).
2-Hold your horses; think of taking Toasted Head instead. Many may not appreciate the wine’s pricetag running $25-$30. You can find it online, at the winery and possibly with your local wine guy.
3-I’d give this as a gift to my friends who like Rombauer. Probably wouldn’t regift, as it wouldn’t survive long at my house.
Share some of your favorite summer whites. We’d love to read about them. xoSB